Server hugging geek Pel Laurens stops

Hi readers,

A while ago, almost 2 years now  Pel Laurens took this domainname from Walter to make sure this project doesn’t stop to exist. At this moment Pel Laurens doesn’t have the time to make any new projects or give new live to this project al all. This is ofcourse very sad news.

Pel Laurens made the promise to keep this project save, and surely this will happen. The project will not go offline, it will stay as an internet archive, the domainname is payed for, and can stay online without costs till 2020.

If you have intrest in this name? Want to give new life to this project? Contact Pel Laurens


Wikizine the Future

A while ago Walter posted the message that he will be stopping with Wikizine. Now there is a future again. A couple of users and myself will work to make this newsite back to the coolest newssite inside Wikimedia. Thank you all for your patience.


Wikizine This Week

WMF executive director Sue Gardner interviewed by The Telegraph in Sydney, Australia. Read it at

Highlights from January 2013, including individual grants, a data center migration, and the launch of Wikivoyage, was published at

The Wikimedia Foundation has called their lawsuit against Internet Brands a ‘victory for Wikivoyage and free knowledge” over the ability to fork Wikitravel. The Signpost has in-depth coverage at

Wikimedia is looking for a new member of the Board of Trustees to fill the appointed seat vacated by Matt Halprin. The search is being conducted by an outside agency.

Smartphone photographers: join the WikiCommons mobile uploads testing week, starting on Feb 25

The 2012 Picture of the Year was announced after 3990 votes in Round 2. View all the results at

Wikimedian Quote

“Wikipedia’s world is a beautiful world. You can see all cultures of the world through the window of a language that you know.” – Doaa Seif of Egypt


An Update on Wikizine’s Future

Stand by for an important announcement about Wikizine’s future.


Year: 2012 Week: 53 Number: 133

Technical news

  • [Wikidata] – the new sister-project Wikidata is growing fast. By year’s end the will get up to 2 million records. In the works is now the interwiki language information, later on infoboxes and lists will follow. At present the data of Wikidata is not yet used on any of the projects. The plans are to switch over the Hungarian language Wikipedia over to Wikidata for the use of there interwiki language links on January 14th 2013.
What will that actually mean in practice? – When this function is enabled on a wiki the interwiki language links will be augmented with sitelinks injected in the Wikipedia article. It is unclear what will happen in the future for sitelinks in non-wikipedia articles. At least if there are sitelinks available at Wikidata about that topic. The current local language links must be removed otherwise they will override the Wikidata sitelinks. You will be able to edit these sitelinks on the local wiki with JavaScript. Changes made on the Wikidata sitelinks that effect a local Wikipedia will propagate to them, and also show up in the recent changes of that wiki. If for some reason a local wiki does not want that the injected interwiki language links show up on a specific page the parser function {{Noexternallanglinks}} can be used. When this function is active the net result is that the interwiki links will show up as usual if set, but the maintenance of sitelinks in the Wikipedia-projects will go away.
  • [Visual Editor (Alpha!)] – The wikisoftware that the projects are using – MediaWiki – has come far from the basic wiki it started with. But when you click on the “edit” button is still looks very the same, at least on not to complicated pages. Since very long there is talk about getting on the Wiki a so called WYSIWYG editor, like MS Word. Maybe not a function for everybody but it could get the less technical minded people on the wiki. At he English language Wikipedia – and only there – an early version of a Visual Editor that does that can be switched on in the users preferences. If you go to your “Preferences” screen and click into the “Editing” section, it will have an option labeled “Enable Visual Editor”. Please be careful, it is still buggy and you are not allowed to use it on the sandbox page.
  • [Mobile WP] – the version of the website for use on phones is getting more functionality. As a logged in user you can edit pages if you enable the “beta” options. And if you enable the “Here be dragons mode” you can upload an image if you use a “webkit browser” like Google Chrome.
  • [Translate] – Translation of MediaWiki and documentation, policies, newsletters and any sort of page on our multilingual wikis is powered and made easy for thousands of translators by the Translate extension, born on A translation memory feature was recently enabled on all Wikimedia wikis after a long work. The translation interface is now being rebuilt to meet translators’ needs: test it and give feedback!



  • [Wikimania 2013] – The – already – 9th Wikimania will be in Hong Kong next year. It will be from 7 to 11 August 2013. The call for participation is open now! So, if you an idea for doing some sort of presentation at Wikimania then it is now the time to enter you proposal.


  • [Uploads] – It is proposed to start a new RfC to approve a new Local uploads policy. Local uploads need a big policy and template infrastructure; most wikis don’t and can’t have it, and at least a hundred wikis are currently breaking the WMF licensing policy. Additionally, only Commons has the UploadWizard. It’s proposed to make uploads more effective and legal by switching them to Commons-only by default, so that only the wikis which have an EDP will keep or get local uploads.


  • [WikiVoyage]“the free, worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit.” will be joining the Wikimedia Foundation family officially on Wikipedia Day, January 15th 2013. The have there origin at, also a project with the same mission. The German language Wikitravel split off in 2006 and became Wikivoyage. The Wikimedia Foundation Wikivoyage will be the “fork” Wikivoyage in German and Italian and the content and most of the userbase of Wikitravel’s remaining language editions. This results in the following languages that are supported in the new WMF-project; English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Russian and Swedish. The interwiki link to link to Wikivoyage is “voy:”. Example; the link for the page about “Bolivia” on the Dutch language Wikivoyage is voy:nl:Bolivia
  • [WMF annual audit 2011-2012] – The annual audit of the Wikimedia Foundation, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 and the corresponding FAQ have been posted on the financial reports page of the Wikimedia Foundation web site. The report shows that from a financial POV it goes very well with the WMF. Cash increased from $12 million to $21.8 million. Investment in technology has gone up by $2.6 million and net assets increased by $10.7 million. Expenses for the fiscal year increased from $17.9 million to $29.3 million. The total assets of the WMF are now over $ 37 million.
  • [WMF annual plan 2012-2013] – is published. It is fairly extensive and summarizing it in 3 sentences does not does it justice. Anyhow; focus will be in getting more people to edit and to keep the current editors. This by making it more easy for potential editors to do it, like the VisalEditor. The WMF also will continue to push to get access to Wikpedia by means of mobile data networks in developing country’s free of charge. That is the “Wikipedia Zero” program.


  • [Wikipedia almost 12-years old] – Currently we are in the middle of the Christmas & new-year holidays. But once again the most important holiday of the calender is coming up; Wikipedia Day. On January 15th 2012 Wikipedia turned eleven years old. So it comes at no surprise that Wikipedia will now turn twelve. And do not forget, at January 25th there is also of course “Magnus Manske Day”. Wikipedia day is the day the first Wikipedia – the English one – started. Magnus Manske Day celebrates the launch of the Phase II wikisoftware; a Wikipedia specific wiki, a very early version of MediaWiki.
  • [Project proposal] – Wikifocus; “to describe everything related to Wiki technology (wikis and their members, wiki softwares and their capabilities).” The proposal to add this project to the WMF family is open for discussion at Meta. Interesting about this is that there is already a small active Russian group of 20 users running a Russian independent Wikifocus wiki. Communication between these Russian speakers and English language users at Meta seems to be problematic.
  • [Wikizine] – At the end of 2005 a news newsletter was started. The intention with it was to inform the community of all the projects across all languages about what was going on. To break the language barriers. For this a network of volunteers across the projects and languages was envisioned to make of Wikizine an information exchange hub. The years up to 2008 where the most successful years of Wikizine. There was a weekly publication rate and frequently extra editions. Wikizine existed also in German, Spanish and Indonesian. But it could not truly deliver the universal projects news as was intended. Wikizine was not able to attract and maintain the necessary people to make that happen. Due to the staff shortage quality could not be guaranteed. And from 2009 on also not the publication rate. It became more monthly then weekly. The other language editions where closed. The publication of Wikizine became an exception. Since 2010 Wikizine is virtually a dead newsletter. In August-September 2011 it suddenly came back to life under the direction of a new editor-in-chief with many different Wikizine versions. The new editor disappeared and so also the revival. And Wikizine continued in zombie mode until now. Wikizine 133, this edition, will be the final Wikizine. Thank you. Walter (talk
  • [Wiktionary] – is one of these projects of our WMF family that gets less space in the sun then others, the dictionary project. But it is more then a dictionary. It is a community building the absolute, the final dictionary. Offering translations from all languages to all languages is only a small part of its mission. There are around 150 active Wiktionary languages editions but the contain words in many more languages. Wiktionary has at least some words in 1029 different languages out of the over 6900 that exist.
And Wiktionary has just celebrated its 10th anniversary as a project on December 12th. The full report and scope of the celebrations can be found at the link below. Media coverage of these celebrations could not be found unfortunately.


  • [Jimmy Wales & Kazahkstan] – In August the WMF awarded by means of Jimmy Wales the first ever “Global Wikipedian of the Year” award to Rauan Kenzhekhanuly, a Wikipedian from Kazakhstan who founded a non-profit organization WikiBilim. With help of this organization the Kazakh Wikipedia grew from 7000 articles to 70,000 in 3 months time. (currently the are over 200,000 articles). Concerns are now raised that this Wikipedia of year is actually a government puppet of the dictatorial government of Kazakhstan. This because of the previous functions in the government service, especially in the propaganda department. And because the WikiBilim organization is funded with the money of state oil.
Jimmy Wales responded with; “The Wikimedia Foundation has zero collaboration with the government of Kazakhstan. Wikibilim is a totally independent organization. And it is absolutely wrong to say that I am “helping the Kazakh regime whitewash its image.” I am a firm and strong critic. At the same time, I’m excited by the work of volunteers, and I believe—very strongly—that an open and independent Wikipedia will be the death knell for tyranny in places like Kazakhstan.”
  • [Wikitube] – no, there is not (yet) a project Wikitube. But the WMF does have an account at Youtube. You can find some video’s about how to edit. And also videos of users who explain what Wikipedia mean form them in there live. Those are interesting to watch because it gives a face behind the recent changes.


  • Wikimedia Commons has reached 15,000,000 files, 73 days after reaching 14,000,000.
  • The Low German/Low Saxon Wikipedia has reached 20,000 articles.
  • The Turkish Wikipedia has reached 200,000 articles
  • The Tamil Wikipedia has reached 50,000 articles.
  • The Romanian Wikibooks has reached 500 book modules.
  • [Wikiquote books and booklovers] – The Italian Wikiquote continues its expansion on the main booklovers social network of Italy: its group on aNobii has 1300+ members (one of the biggest groups). ISBNs of quoted books were extracted from it, en, fr.quote and experimentally added. The Italian has about 4500 ISBNs and 10 thousands books identified in total, English and French about 2500 ISBNs. Italian seems to quote all the books that English does, plus many more; a third of fr.quote’s books are quoted also on en and it.

Other news

  • [WMF shop] – since a while there is WMF webshop. You can buy a T-shirt and other clothing, stickers and pins and quality bags. Shipment is from the US but the are offering a flat fee of $10 for the shipping costs to all destinations. Nevertheless if you only wanted to buy a key-chain it gets very expensive. When a local wikimeet is coming up you could do a group order and divide the costs that way.

Did you know …

… that the edits of experts make an article harder to read?

“The reason is clear, they say: articles on difficult topics are written by experts who sacrifice readability for accuracy – and that is compounded as other experts weigh in with further accuracy-obsessed edits that remove “simplifications, generalisations or intuitive explanations” that might have served to aid readability.”


“So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”

— Last message of the dolphins to the people of Earth before leaving it,_and_Thanks_for_All_the_Fish

Editor(s): Walter, Nemo - Thanks to: Amgine, Jeblad, hoo Sources-Attributions:Jeblad,Lydia Pintscher Website: Gopher: is down and probably will not come back Contact: [[meta:user:Walter]]
Happy new-year, good fortune and health in MMXIII makes no guarantee of accuracy, validity and especially but not limited to, correct grammar and spelling. Satisfaction is not guaranteed. Some content can be highly inspired or directly copied from other sources. Those sources are listed above at "Sources-Attributions". is published by [[meta:user:Walter]]. Content is available under Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

Year: 2012 Week: 4 Number: 132

The EN Wikipedia goes offline for 24 hours

  • The community of the English language Wikipedia has decided to “blackout” the English Wikipedia for 24 hours. A sort of strike thus. The blackout goes in to effect from 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18. The blackout is a protest against the proposed law of the United States of America “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA).

The protest is there because the proposed law could harm the operation of community driven website like Wikipedia.
The decision of the Community of the English language Wikipedia is supported by the Wikimedia Foundation. This in the first time the English Wikipedia – the oldest and most popular of all Wikipedias – does something like this. The Italian language Wikipedia did this a couple of months ago.
Other language Wikipedias have indicated to show support by displaying a banner but not also go “dark”. Also non-Wikimedia websites will take part but not all by going dark. Google will put a link on there homepage about it.


Anno Domini MMXII Week II Number CXXXI


  • [Terms Of Use] – On websites the “Terms of Use” are what most of us frequently indicate to agree with but never reed. Also Wikipedia has a “Terms of Use”. A “Terms of use” for Wikipedia came only to existence years after its founding and remained very basic. Until now. In original Wikimedia style a new Terms Of use have been written by the community at Meta. It is more extensive then the current but it remains, for a “Terms of Use”, relative short and very readable. The WMF board still needs to approve it before it can replaces the current “Terms of Use”. — New “Terms of Use” (final community draft)
  • [The Annual Fundraiser] – Despite the economic problems of the world – the Wikimedia Foundation did it again. The goal is every year higher but the donations follow. The WMF has raised the new record amount of 20 million US dollar in the fundraiser that just now ended. The miracle of the WMF business model to just ask for money keeps working. But even a miracle needs some help. Last year the WMF spend 1,8 USD $ on fundraising.      The operating budget of the WMF will increase in spending in 2011-12 compared with 2010-11 with $9.8 million. 28.3 million USD will be the current budget. The gap between the raised amount and the budget is closed by several grants and continuous donations. 44% of the budget will go to running the actual web-infrastructure. 24% will go to management, finance and administration. A tiny fraction smaller, 23% of the budget, is under the label “Other programs”. The Community department and the Global Development department falls under that slice. The rest are fundraising costs. Best read the annual plan if you wish to know more.
  • [Grant of $3.6 Million] – The Stanton Foundation -, a long term funder of the WMF, donated $3.6 million USD (2,61 Million EUR) to the Wikimedia Foundation. This is the largest grant ever received by the WMF.

Technical news

  • [https] – It was already possible to login to the projects by means of a secure connection but that was by means of a “” -type of link. Now the usable links work. Just add the “s” to the protocol. This works on all Wikimedia wikis. Using https is not yet the default option when you login. If you wish to use it you need to enter it manually.
  • [Article Feedback] – A new article feedback system is in testing at EN Wikipedia. A previous version used a star-system the the reader could give to articles. The new one uses a different approach. It does not asks to give points but the give real textual reader feedback. More like a very easy comment function like on blogs and news sites. Only are the comments not posted. Currently the collected data is only for testing and not public. The idea is that editors will be able to assess the feedback in the future. The test runs on limited number of articles on EN Wikipedia. — example article with the new feedback function



  • [Wikipedia Vs. Britannica] – It is not original but always interesting to read; compare the articles of Wikipedia with those of Britannica and other classic sources by academics. The reaserch is published in the peer-reviewed medical journal “Psychological Medicine”. To read the actual article you can “buy” the article for $45 or “rent” it for $5,99. Luckily the Singpost is not so silly. — free read

Events and meetups

  • [Wikipedia Day] – next week, Sunday, it will be once more Wikipedia Day; the founding day of Wikipedia. The 15th of January Wikipedia will be become 11-years old. Several community’s will hold a wiki-meetup in honour or Wikipedia Day in India, Mexico, United Kingdom, United States …. see link and check your local community.

Other news


  • [?] – between mid August and the end of September there was a short but strong burst of Wikizines in different new editions, new emerging concepts for Wikizine. This was under the direction of the new lead editor of Wikizine User Milos. Unfortunately it was a short candle that burned out very fast. This Wikizine is once more a “Classic edition”. No more “News”, “Talk” of “Opinion” editions. It is constructed once more by User:Walter. Realistically speaking Wikizine is dead since long. This edition and possible future editions are the product just of plain stubbornness to continue more or less despite any objective reason to do so. In that spirit I also wish to point out that Wikizine is still also online at Gopher-space. The domain is just renewed for two years so in any case that will remain online for the near future. Happy new year! — User:Walter

Request for help

Did you know …

  • … that it very easy to get a QRcode for any Wikipedia article?
  • A QR code a square barcode that is used to point to online resources that people can lookup with there mobile device. The website makes it very easy make a code for any Wikipedia article. The code is language independent. When used it will return to the user the Wikipedia article about that topic in the language of the user based on the language settings of the mobile device. This system is used in several museums to provide multi-language extra information.


  • “jimmy_wales; I am proud to announce that the Wikipedia domain names will move away from GoDaddy. Their position on #sopa is unacceptable to us. 23 Dec Twitter.”
  • Our Chairman Emeritus takes a political standpoint against a new US law that could threat online freedom of speech.

    Editor(s): Walter makes no guarantee of accuracy, validity and 
    especially but not limited to, correct grammar and spelling.
    Satisfaction is not guaranteed. Some content can be highly
    inspired or directly copied from other sources.
    Those sources are listed above at "Sources-Attributions". is published by [[meta:user:Walter]].
    Content is available under Creative Commons
    Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

Wikizine News – Year: 2011 Week: 40 Number: 130


  • [30 September] – The last day of the project Wiki Loves Monuments for this year is September 30th. So if you still have pictures of monuments, it is not yet to late to share them on Commons and maybe win a prize. Currently there are already more then 125,000 new pictures added to commons in this one month of Wikimedia Loves Monuments. Yes – 125,000 – that is correct. And … one country is Done Done – Andorra has now 100% of the monuments photographed!

Technical news


Jimmy Wales




  • [Wikipedia Signpost] – A new Wikipedia Signpost has been published. In this edition you can read: Opinion essay: The global mission, the image filter and the “German question”, WikiProject Automobiles, Top female Wikipedians, reverted newbies, WikiSym previews and so on.


  • [Other anniversaries] – During the next month the Korean and Malay Wikipedias will become nine years old, while Abkhaz and Albanian will become eight years old. Wikimedia France will become seven years old, while Wikimedia Sweden will become four years old.


Events and meetups

  • [19 September – 4 October] – Wikimedia servers upgrades to MediaWiki 1.18
    • [19 September] – Monday, September 19, 23:00-01:00 UTC — Production test: – this stage will ensure that 1.18 is compatible with the rest of our production infrastructure. There’s a small chance that changes here could affect all wikis.
    • [21 September] – Wednesday, September 21, 23:00-03:00 UTC — Stage 1:,,,,,
    • [26 September] – Monday, September 26, 23:00-03:00 UTC — Stage 2:,,,,,
    • [4 October] – Tuesday, October 4, 23:00-03:00 UTC — Stage 3: remaining wikis.
  • [1 October] – A Backstage Pass tour is an event aimed at sharing the expertise of real-world cultural institutions with our wiki-expertise. Wikimedia UK organizes it at Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, Coventry, UK.

Did you know …

… what protocol relative URLs are?

Normal URLs look like: or
Both of these URLs define the protocol that will be used. Protocol relative URLs look like this: // Dropping the protocol from the URL allows the browser to assign the current protocol to the URL. So, if you are visiting the site in HTTPS mode, links will point to HTTPS, and if you are visiting the site in HTTP mode, links will point to HTTP.


“I’m sort of the anti-Julian Assange. I’m actually a nice person. I don’t mean to say anything negative about him, but he’s widely regarded as difficult.” — Jimmy Wales

Wikizine-seeks-editors , Editor(s): Milos, Walter – Corrector(s): nathan  – Thanks to: effeietsanders  – Sources-Attributions: “Did you know” is by Ryan Lane blog post  – Support: Walter  – Contact: – Website:  – Gophersite: gopher:// –  Wikizine-loves-feedback  – makes no guarantee of accuracy, validity and especially but not limited to, correct grammar and spelling. Satisfaction is not guaranteed. Some content can be highly inspired or directly copied from other sources. Those sources are listed above at “Sources-Attributions”. is published by [[meta:user:Walter]]. Content is available under Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0


Wikizine Techflash – Year: 2011 Week: 40


Hi again folks,

We want to run another set of banners to recruit translators for the
fundraiser this week, in some areas overlapping with the WLM banners.

If it is alright with you we would like to do it the same way we did
previously, namely with a rough 25-75 split with the WLM banners, so
they are still shown. The banners will only run for logged-in users,
so anonymous users will not be affected.

The countries that will be affected are these:

  • Tuesday 27th
    • 17:00–21:00 UTC: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands
    • 15:00–21:00 UTC: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Andorra
  • Wednesday 28th
    • 17:00–22:00 UTC: Portugal, Spain
  • Thursday 29th
    • 12:00–23:59 UTC: Poland
  • Friday 30th
    • 12:00–23:59 UTC: Russia, Hungary, Estonia, Romania

Please let me know if there is a problem – and sorry about the late
notice for the ones tomorrow.

Jon Harald Søby
Community Fellow
Wikimedia Foundation

Request for help
[Sign-up for translation] – Frequently there are messages that need to be translated in, if possible, all the languages of the projects. If you like to volunteer to be a translator you can register yourself (see link) so when you are needed you can be contacted.


Wikizine Opinion – Year: 2011 Week: 39 Number: 129 BIS

Wikizine needs YOU!

Wikipedia has already changed the world. Wikimedia movement is at the beginning of that task. To push the movement into that direction, Wikizine needs your bold ideas and personal perspectives! Send your ideas to us or simply add them into the appropriate section. What YOU think can change the world!
Send us email, give us feedback, write it on foundation-l, on Meta!


  • Editorial
    • Wikizine
    • In the mean time on foundation-l…
    • Wikinews: Criticism and fork
    • Song of the week
  • Personal perspective: The cows of Jimmy Walker
  • In the news
  • Time machine
    • 10 years ago
    • 5 years ago
  • From Wikipedia

Editorial by Milos


As you can see, there are two regular and one irregular editions of Wikizine. Wikizine News should stay more or less like Wikizine always was: plain news for Wikimedia community. Breaking News or Tech Flash are for irregular editions for important news and they existed before, as well.
Wikizine Opinion or Talk Edition or Weekend Edition (we still want to get your input about the name of this edition!) should be for longer reading, over weekends.
You can see that there are five main parts of this edition: “Editorial”, “Personal perspective”, “In the news”, “Time machine” and “From Wikipedia”.
Of those, “Time machine” debuts in this edition. It’s about events in and around the Wikimedia community ten and five years ago. We should remind ourselves of past events and still modern ideas.
Thanks to Walter, Wikizine got its gopher [1] site [2]. Gopher existed before the web and it was a non-graphical hypertext protocol. Just ~150 gopher sites left on the Internet by now. I was very happy when I realized that. My only objection is that we have to find a way to have the whole site in pure gopher menus and text, as some of the pages are in HTML, which is a shame! You know, we are geeks, at last 🙂
[2] gopher://

In the meantime on foundation-l…

Like with any good soap opera, after years of discussions about nudity on Wikimedia projects and filtering it, you didn’t miss anything! If you join now, you would see the same people, the same relations between them, the same intrigues, but in brand new packaging. But, most importantly, something which you can’t do with soap operas, YOU can raise a pro or contra argument a year old and people would discuss it seriously and with the same passion as it was at the beginning! Once again, Wikimedia community proved that it’s as vital as it was years ago.
On my Gmail account I have 43 foundation-l threads for the period of 17-23 September. Of those:

  • 21 about image filter and similar, including another of Larry Sanger’s self-promotional tweets
  • 3 about forking Wikinews
  • 3 about friendly organizations
  • 4 chapter-related
  • 3 WMF and tech related
  • 2 related to languages
  • 3 posts by internal bulletins (Wikipedia Signpost and Wikizine)
  • 4 miscellaneous

Wikinews: criticism and fork

Wikinews was featured on foundation-l for the first time this month when it was complained that the English Wikinews project has a “codified bias toward non-Western articles” [1].
From a personal perspective, I can say that the English Wikinews, unlike the English Wikipedia, has a significant number of native English speakers who are not willing to accept non-English sources for anything: news source or proof that a Wikinewsie is good enough editor to become accredited journalist. A couple of years ago, I had a hard time trying to convince them to give accreditation to one Serbian and one Polish Wikinewsie. But, fortunately, the core of editors are sane enough.
Last week The Open Globe [2][3], a Wikinews fork, was created. That triggered long discussions about Wikipedia’s sister projects and their ability to be self-sustainable.

In 2007 I made a deal with Beta News Agency [4], the main privately-owned news agency from Serbia, to give to Wikinews short news for free. The deal is, actually, that we’ve got everything from Beta’s site under CC-BY 2.5 license. As you can see, besides Serbian, there are news services in English [5], Hungarian [6], Romani [7] and Albanian [8]. Four existing and one non-existing edition are able to get high quality news, mostly from Serbia.
A bot is running on Serbian Wikinews and adding news from Beta. Because of that, Serbian Wikinews has almost as many articles as all other Wikinews editions [9].
However, the bot on Serbian Wikinews is not running presently, actually. For about two weeks there has been a problem with harvesting and I have to fix it. I’ll do that, but the problem is the fact that one substantial part of one project depends only on the free time and willingness of one volunteer.
For four years I was trying to find just one more person interested in developing and maintaining the bot, but I didn’t find anyone. With two persons, we could maintain not just Serbian Wikinews, but other Wikinews editions, as well.

News is not news two days after it has been published. Only those who research a specific event read old news. Thus, one task is to “fix” encyclopedic article, the other is to do that with news.
Because of that Wikinews is not attractive to trolls, but it isn’t attractive to regular editors of Wikipedia, either.
The main problem with Wikinews is the lack of the fulfillment which Wikipedia offers: What did I do? Wrote an article which was popular for two days, one week?
Writing news requires another kind of motivation. Relevant encyclopedias shape cultures. Relevant news outlets shape public opinion. As our contemporary society is based on short-term goals, there is much more competition in writing news than in writing encyclopedias. The threshold for making a news outlet relevant is insanely high.
But, it is possible to change things!

  • While waiting for one WMF programmer devoted to Wikinews (there are a lot of programmers devoted to Wikipedia), if one volunteer programmer would be interested in programming bots for Wikinews, we could use the bot not just for the English Wikinews additionally, but for other Wikinews editions as well.
  • WMF should employ at least one person to deal with Wikinews. Many persons are employed to deal with Wikipedia.
  • WMF should promote Wikinews and the other sister projects. There are other projects beside Wikipedia and Commons in the Wikimedia family.


Song of the week

The song of the week is [1]. Lyrics could be found, for example, here [2].

Personal perspective

Joan Goma [1] wrote the text for this edition of Wikizine’s Personal opinion. Joan Goma is the president of Associació Amical Viquipèdia [2][3], an organization which wants to be recognizes as the Wikimedia chapter for Catalonia [4].
[2] [3]

The cows of Jimmy Walker

In a far away country there was a town known as English where people engaged in the milk business. This is a very tricky business because you have to care for the cows, giving them food, milking them and sell the milk. The amount of milk that the cows gave never matched completely with the one needed by the population and this generated problems. To solve them they had tried all kinds of organizational systems. In a quarter of the town, if you had two cows then the district council took up the cows and they manage them taking in mind the needs of the population and not the selfishness of the owner. But then nobody had much interest on looking after them and they died.

In another quarter they let you have the cows but they took away the milk from you, this way the cows were cared of because there was that one who was interested on maintaining them and then the council decided how the milk was distributed according to the needs of the population and not based on who was richer. Then the owners of the cows had almost no income die of hunger or boredom, then no one will take care of the cows and the cows died. In another quarter they allow you to kept the cows and milk then you sell a cow and buy a bull have more and more cows and more and more milk then the price of milk falls so that you could neither feed the cows nor pay the salaries of the employees who looked after the cows and the cows eventually also died. [1]

One day a farmer named Jimmy Walker, with several crosses and genetic experiments, he obtained a new race of cattle. They were cows that give an infinite amount of milk and that did not eat any fodder. Those cows were very nice and many people liked to look after them, liked them so much that they were willing to do it for free. Jimmy started his farm with a new business model. He distributed the milk for free. At first nobody believed that this may work. Some said some cattle cared for by unpaid volunteers may not give good milk in any way. To take care of cows should be well prepared and very responsible. Others said that carers are volunteers, that cares for one day that they presented by his nickname instead of their real name and we do not know if they are really responsible for taking care of the cows. Others said that what costs nothing is worth nothing.

But Jimmy went ahead and the milk turned out to be better every day to the extent that many farmers folded because they could not compete with the milk of high quality and for free delivered by Jimmy. The business expanded. First milk was distributed only to the English town, and then he opened farms in other villages, opened in a town known as German, and in another known as Catalan. The people from Catalan town were quick to raise cows and started right away, [2] others did take a couple of months but the business also did well and soon was extended to more and more towns to virtually all world. [3]

On growing the first problem arose. Although the cows did not eat and caregivers did it for free, distribute milk cost money. At first Jimmy did not mind paying it out of his pocket but there was a moment that could not. Then he decided to set up a non-profit foundation. To find a way the foundation have income to pay the costs of transporting milk at the beginning he thought that maybe he could put ads on milk bottles. But then those that looked after the cows told him that they did not agree with this that, if he made this, they no longer wanted to continue caring for the cows for free.

Then he remembered a day walking around Prague had seen that some musicians played for free and the people who wanted giving them money. He thought that, as it was only necessary to pay the transport of the milk, perhaps there would be enough of maintaining the milk for free and without advertisements and asking those drinking the milk that give what they want. Said and done and the system worked.

The system worked so well that the foundation, with the money raised not only paid transport costs but also hired people to make technical improvements in the stables and to manage the storage and transport of milk, donations and legal requirements of handling money.

Some of those that looked after the cows were not very happy that others get paid while they worked for free. So Jimmy set up elections so that a few members of the Board of Directors of the foundation were chosen by carers of the cows. Thus, as the work of the foundation was necessary for delivering of the milk and improve the cow stables caregivers agreed to continue caring for them for free.

To encourage carers of cows foundation began to organize annual meetings called cow-mania and began to create local chapters of caregivers of cows. Encouraging carers to create associations and allowing them to use the brand of milk to promote its drink and to encourage more people to look after the cows.

Seeing that everything worked so well a new economic theory appeared. It was named cow-economics. The cow-economics consisted in obtaining a race of animals that they grew up without eating, like Jimmy’s cows, and they should be very friendly then encouraging a community to take care of the animals for free. At the beginning of each business a small company paid the expenses of distributing the products obtained from animals and of organizing festivals and competitions to keep happy the community of caregivers. The products were given away for private consumption but they put advertising on packaging, they asked for donations and charged fees for uses for profit.

The cow-economic companies began to populate the economic system. Companies spent a lot of resources to studying the psychology of the caretakers of animals and build very user-friendly stables. Emerged a lot of companies like cow-how (engaged in the wool obtained from sheep), face-cow (who worked in chicken eggs) and so on, all of them with many benefits.
Suddenly the business of Jimmy began to see signs of crisis. The number of cattle keepers had stopped growing and began to fall. The amount of milk consumed also began to stop growing and it seems that also began to fall.

Faced with these threats Jimmy Walker tried to strengthen the chapters letting them raise the money from donations. The chapters were organized not by town but they were organized by race. There were many races on the basis of skin colour. There were races of people with different shades ranging from white to black. In the case of the English people they did not have a single chapter, but they were divided into several chapters according to the colour of the skin of the caregivers. In the case of the Catalan town they asked to have a chapter for all the people of the town because they were a small town and they feel comfortable working altogether.

The Catalan people was a very strange people who didn’t liked to discriminate people by skin colour and therefore they do not see anything good in being separated on the basis of skin colour. But their request was denied. They told them that they had to join the people of their same race, although they were of different towns because at the time of collecting donations and distributing the milk it was done according to race and not according to the town where the people lived and the laws on taxes and tax deductions were based on race and not the town …

The truth is that there were cases where town agreed with a single race. Then they could have a chapter. There were also cases of very large villages where the village had many races that only lived in this place then those villages could have several chapters. The problems were in the small towns where people was of the same races than people living in neighbour villages that were much larger. They could not have a chapter. But since these were small towns that do not matter to anyone (except to themselves) the problem stayed unsolved.
Several problems arose. Some chapters raise the money but not paid to the foundation what had agreed to contribute to the maintenance of the common expenses of distribution of milk. Others had the money in the bank and did not use them for anything.

Others used it but not explained where they spent or what results they obtain. Although the primary law of this country was “presuppose good faith”, seeing that there was always a very bad caretaker of cows non-compliant with the law that might thought that there were some kind of incompetence in handling of money or even corruption.
Moreover, sometimes there were problems among caregivers of cows and the chapters and or the foundation. The chapters were associations of people where not all partners were cattle keepers neither all of cattle keepers were associated. The foundation, although carers of cows appointed a few members of its governing body, had gone ahead with several initiatives which had upset carers of cows.

Another problem arose because not all races had the same economic level. The white races were very wealthy and were used to give money to non-profit activities. But the black was very poor and did not have the habit of making donations. The money collected was going mainly to the chapters of the white races and almost none to the chapters of the black races. In some cases such as in the Spanish town most of the caregivers, were quite dark but recently had created a chapter of white people that would raise the most of the money.
From here the story takes three finals. Choose what you like.

Final 1

(Centralization and decline)
Seeing all this chaos Jimmy turned to his leadership in establishing a system where money collected by the bodies of different races had to pledge for transparently managing the money and for transferring a large extent to the foundation and chapters in need in accordance with established rules. The Foundation will control and monitor the entire system.
The chapters fiercely opposed to it but as the foundation had the upper hand in controlling the distribution of milk, they had to accept it.

Then the foundation was tried to copy what the cow-economic companies did: Manage the community of caregivers making activities to attract more and redesign the stalls of cows so that they were more user friendly.
But the milk business is not as fun as wool or eggs. In addition, the foundation did not have as much money as companies engaged in this business because it could not place ads. Neither could count on much help from the chapters that were quite annoying. With a centralized structure with few resources could not encompass the diversity of races and towns with as much efficiency as other companies did.

Gradually caregivers were leaving the business. Some because they were bored, others because they sympathized with the chapters that were annoying for the affair of the money, others were simply move on to other business more fun without such problems, others assembled their own farms of cows aside. Of course there was a small core remained of irreducible who continued for a long time. They included the Catalan town; their only interest was providing their town a great deal of high quality milk.

As the cows gave infinite milk, the foundation could continue distributing milk for a long time. But nothing was ever as before again.

Final 2

(The chapters assault the foundation. General rush)
Seeing that Jimmy was proposed that the foundation overseeing the management of the money by the chapters, that not all chapters will be allowed to collect directly, and even proposed that the foundation appoint members in Chapters Board.
The chapters were quick to react against this approach. They set up a council of chapters to join forces with to face the foundation. With this organization they planned the assault of the foundation.
There were two members of the Board of the foundation that were traditionally chosen by the chapters. On the first occasion of renewing these charges ensured that the two new members of the Board agreed with its approach.

There were three more chosen by the community of caregivers of cows.
The community of caregivers of cows was totally disorganized, most had no idea what was going on. The only keepers of cattle that were organized and were informed they were the affiliated to chapters. Only 10% followed somehow what was discussed and they where basically the people’s from the English town. The other towns were far away and were not aware of these discussions.
In the next election, the council of chapters orchestrated a good campaign. They promoted the presentation of three good candidates related to their postulates and asked the chapters to put all their influence to promote the vote for these candidates.

The result was a success. The 3 new members were those who promoted the chapters. With 5 members of the Board they had majority and were able to change the rules of the game to their taste.
The first thing that they did was change the way of appointing members of the Board. They increased the number of members appointed by chapters and lower the appointment of experts in various fields and those named by the community of caregivers of cows. This will ensure that they could continue controlling the foundation for ever more.

Then they left the foundation limited to the activities of distribution of milk and improvement of stalls. All that was raising money, promoting the consumption of milk and attract new carers of cows was in the hands of the chapters.
In each town the outcome was very different.
There were towns with only one race that had a good understanding between the chapter and the community of caregivers of cows, in these cases, besides if they were white and could raise a lot of money had very good cards in the game. For the German town things went very well.
Other towns had people of many races.

In the case of the English town the majority they were of white race. There were not many problems between the chapters and the community of caregivers. They saw many discussions and many caregivers left the business. But as its farm was very big it continued giving milk.
In the case of the Spanish town there are many races but the skin colour of the majority was rather dark. Only whites they have good funding. In the community of caregivers, there were many critics of the chapters and the foundation. They were devoted to discuss among themselves. They fill pages and pages of discussion and were becoming less dedicated to caring for cows.

Worst of all was for small towns. In small towns there were not enough people in any race to have its own chapter. All chapters were in bigger towns. They were left without money to promote that the people take care of their cows. Many towns were abandoned and are now ghost towns where nobody lives there. In some cases such as the Catalan people were riding back to the chapter of the Foundation and the Council of Chapters and they raise funds on their own to promote the business of milk for his people.

Final 3

(The French Revolution. Communities in power)
The keepers of cattle were beginning to see those tings were going wrong. They were not organized. Each town was living without much contact to the other and few people where involved in the tasks of organizing the farm. Most limited their activity to care a little cow and nothing more. Only when something happened that attracted much attention a few of them went out and make hear their voice.
But Jimmy remembered that the original spirit of the project included the caregivers of the cows that had to decide how best to organize the farm, therefore suggested to organize the keepers of cattle so that they could help to fix the problem.

The first step was to go for new blood. Those that is usually limited to caring for the cows and not saying anything more. Off course, there were many and not all were constant carers. Many were limited to go to the farm care for a cow during one day and never return. He thought that a reasonable approach would be bringing together all keepers of cattle that had the right to vote to choose the members of the board of the foundation. These were the ones that had helped to look after the cows for a long period and still continued doing it recently.
To go up to meet and talk to each other had to organize them by town. No matter the skin colour of each one. Said and done. In each town created a Council composed of all caregivers eligible to vote. The Council appointed representatives who took care of the relations with other towns.

The representatives of the town stayed alert of the affairs of the various farms and the distribution of milk and made a summary report to the Council. Every 3 months they sent this report to each member of the Council to keep them up to date. Also organized discussions among Council members when there were important issues and collected the outcome. The representatives of each town were gathered together to form a General Council of Cattle Carers.
The Council of each town allocated trusted caretakers of cows the task of supervising the chapters that were in the town, also ensured that the chapters of the richest races handed the money to the poorer chapters to get the best for the whole of the town.

The General Council ensured that all chapters handed the money to the foundation for the distribution of milk, to improve the stable, and to support activities to attract carers in the towns where there was no chapter .
Once organized caregivers, and once checked that everyone was involved (not just the same as always that in many cases had already been organized into chapters) then Jimmy changed the status of the foundation increasing the number of members of board elected by the communities so that caregivers so that they were majority. In this way the system was stabilized.

The case of small towns that previously could not have a chapter they discuss the matter with the Council of its town. Some decided to agree with chapters of neighbouring villages, others like the case of the Catalan town, decided to create its own chapter and were able to promote the business of milk in her town as everyone else. In the end most people were having a chapter that promoted the business of milk, either own or a neighbouring village who had come to an agreement.

With the house tidy, take care of cows was more fun than ever. In addition, the foundation could concentrate on making a much better stable. This gave a whole new air. The global milk market grew slowly and sooner or later they would cover all the demand.

In order to grow since they were enthusiastic about the subject, on the one hand they revived some businesses that had already begun and that they had not succeeded. Business of cheese, yoghurt etc. that did not work because they needed different facilities that the business of milk. They were focused on research and develop these infrastructures.
They also began to start new business ideas as the business of honey. At first this business was small but gradually grew and reached beyond the milk business.


[1] This is a summary. In fact they tried many more systems of organization. You can find a more expansive collection here:
[2] Although it has nothing to do and it is a pure coincidence, something similar happened with Wikipedia:
[3] Jimmy Walker became famous. Even the diplomatic cables of the United States made some a follow-up of its movements. As can be seen thanks to Wikileaks. By mistake they attribute him the foundation of Wikipedia but obviously should say cow-pedia:

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